THE INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION: Opium from Growers to Pushers by Catherine & Michel R. Lamberti Lamour
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THE INTERNATIONAL CONNECTION: Opium from Growers to Pushers

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The recent announcement that Turkey plans to rescind its ban on poppy cultivation should give added weight to Lamour and Lamberti's brilliant and devastating analysis of why America's ""war"" on heroin is doomed to failure. Lamour, a French journalist, and Lamberti, an economist at the University of Paris, survey opium production and its conversion to heroin from the peasants of Thailand, Afghanistan and Turkey who grow the poppies, to the Marseilles refineries, to the merchants who rack up enormous profits expediting the white powder for retail in Europe and America. Most shocking is the expose of how heroin has become political currency in Southeast Asia where U.S. support of the tottering regimes in Laos and Thailand means ipso facto support of the opium barons. The most glaring example of this vicious paradox is the K.M.T. -- the remnants of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army who play a vital role in the Thai government's counter-guerrilla operations while simultaneously acting as the chief conduit for the narcotics flow. The authors assert that so long as the U.S. pursues its Southeast Asian anti-communist crusade, it must, pious rhetoric notwithstanding, sanction the drug trade. In the final analysis, they believe that America's announced intention of curbing narcotics ""at the source"" is a sham, and a way of passing the buck to the Third World. In neutral nations America simply lacks the political sway; elsewhere we are forced into active complicity with those whose livelihood and political survival depend on the illegal profits of the drug business. A unique and deeply disturbing grass-roots study of The Second Opium War from the days when Madame Nu reigned as Saigon's ""opium queen.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1974
Publisher: Pantheon